Some walls simply blow you away, and it can be difficult to do them justice with words alone, and perhaps less is more in such instances. This three-way collaborative wall in Nelson Street is by Kin Dose, s,w,a,l.t and Stiiv (or Swick) (not to be confused with our own calligraffiti writer Stivs), the latter two who were visiting Bristol as guests of Upfest. It is always a real pleasure to have these ‘spill-over’ extras from the festival.
The Tiger is by Kin Dose, and makes the most of his ‘airbrush’ approach to spraying, managing to create an extraordinary sense of depth in the fur and hairs of the creature. A stunning piece, which on its own would satisfy, but, wait for it… two more beauties sit alongside.
The middle piece is from s.w.a.l.t and is a miracle of portrait work in greyscale augmented with graffiti writing, in the style of Pichiavo. This portrait is probably my favourite piece of the year so far. Simply stunning.
Rounding off this beautiful wall is a robin perched on a fragmented branch, by Stiiv (Swick). There is life and character in this little robin, and as with Kin Dose’s Tiger, the fluffy feathers give this piece real depth. A beauty.
Perhaps take a moment, not to read my words, but to enjoy this wall.
Anyone who visits the centre of Bristol can’t have missed that there has been a lot of redevelopment work going on in Nelson Street, Broad Street and the surrounding area. This rather seedy backwater has, over the last two years undergone a bit of a face lift and is being opened soon as a huge, 250 bedroom, hotel owned by the Clayton chain. Let’s hope they can find enough workers to staff it! Unlike many developments, this one has retained some significant existing murals and commissioned a new one by the old master, Felix Braun.
Felix Braun or FLX is one of the godfathers of Bristol street art and author of the book ‘Children of the Can’ a ‘must-have’ for enthusiasts of the Bristol scene. His artwork has taken on a highly designed stylised look in recent years, and this huge mural is a gorgeous reminder of his talent. Abstract figures at the base of the piece draw your eyes in before sending them upwards towards the giant figure and it’s shadow. There is something very pleasing about the piece overall, and it is great to see FLX’s work in the heart of the city.
Tom Miller has been very busy recently with a few commissions, and of course his lovely collaboration piece with Kin Dose on Nelson Street, that I published yesterday (Christmas Day). This new mural on the wall of the Basement Beer brewery tap room in Upper York Street is an absolute beauty and full of depth and symbolism.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Tom Miller (thank you, Paul, for the tip-off) while he was putting the finishing touches on the piece, and stopped for a wee chat. Tom Miller is one of the gentlest, kindest and most lovely artists I meet doing the rounds, and he is so generous with his time, always willing to talk and discuss his work. During our conversation, I asked him about the painting, and he gave me a few little insights.
The steps that appear on the piece are a direct reference to the steps in the doorway sign ‘basement beer’, which kind of makes sense, but might not be obvious when just glancing at the piece.
There is always so much going on in Tom Miller’s pieces, and he has really delved into the spirit of the venue with some clever mash-ups of people and drinks, creating some rather surreal and colourful characters.
This is an artwork that deserves to be seen and admired, and we are so lucky in Bristol that we get to see so much free art like this. Tom’s canvasses are something special too. Always bright, colourful and frenetic, they display a stream of consciousness captured on canvass or a wall and frozen in that moment. Fabulous work.
Sometimes I’m just not quick enough off the mark. This lovely collaboration between Mr Penfold and RichT is a case in point. I had seen the piece on Instagram and knew exactly where it was, ut by the time I got organised to check it out it had been tagged with the word WONK. Not really a surprise in this part of town, but really annoying nonetheless.
The mural is one of those ‘true’ collaborations which is a blend of the two artist’s styles incorporated into the one piece. The flowers are courtesy of RichT and the abstract shapes are Mr Penfold’s. I think that it works exceptionally well and I would love to see more of these blended collaborations in the future.
It’s in my head now, so I have to say it, but while looking at this wonderful bunny by Nevergiveup (#followmyrabbits), I hear the football chant “you see him here, you see him there, you see him every f***ing where” and that adequately describes this artist’s rabbits.
This charming fellow can be found in anything but charming surroundings at the top of some rather unpleasant concrete steps rising up from Nelson Street. It is great that this artist brings a glimmer of light and hope to such places. So many more rabbits to come.
I have walked past this pioece by Mr Penfold a handful of times, but not until recently did I have my camera with me, which is a pity really because it has been rather spoiled with a tag. It is in a little alley just off Nelson Street and close to St John the Baptist church.
His work always contains these abstract designs in bright colours, often incorporating animal print patterning. The colours in this piece are typical of his work, which can often be seen brightening up shop fronts and public spaces. Something about his work reminds me very much of the 1980s, it might be the brashness of the placing together of contrasting patterns and colours. Always instantly recognisable, and usually upbeat work.
So, continuing on from my last post, it seems almost inconceivable that the same artist could paint two street masterpieces on the same building in the space of a couple of weeks, but somehow Kin Dose has done it and pulled it off with consummate style.
In this second piece the artist has created a scene with an oriental ‘Hokusai’ sea and waves harbouring a lotus flower and koi carp. In the centre of the sea is an island with an ornate dragon whose face is highlighted by a full moon.
This piece is rather difficult to photograph because of the nature of the wall, which incorporates a staircase, and the amount of street furniture knocking around, so I would recommend that any Bristolian reading this gets themself down to Nelson Street to witness this for themselves.
The dragon is beautifully painted and nicely detailed, but it is the amazing contrast with the red sky and white moon that really lifts this beast from the wall. The tail of the dragon disappears into the sea to the left of the piece.
The whole thing is magnificent. How much more can Kin Dose give?
I am struggling to write this post, mainly because I am lost for words at how very good the mural by Kin Dose, just off Nelson Street in the centre of town, is. In my view this is a worldie and we are honoured and privileged to see a wall of such beauty in Bristol.
The whole scene is of a beautiful geisha under the shade of a paper parasol gracefully holding out her hand upon which a splendid kingfisher sits. This is close to street art perfection, and were it not for the bloody wheelie bins, which I attempted to move, it would pretty much be there.
The background to the piece is composed of layers of graffiti and burners blended into a japanese scene of mountains and buildings. There is something similar to the style of PichiAvo in this.
The face of the geisha is absolutely beautiful and not in any way overcomplicated. The flowers cascading from her hair add a real touch of class. The last component of the piece is the kingfisher perching on her hand.
I feel it would be wrong not to point out that the kingfisher is a small bird, and in this piece, ever so slightly out of proportion. But I am nit-picking and I hate myself for it, because this is a truly wonderous piece and really ups the game for the high-end street art talent in this great city. Bravo! Kin Dose.
But it gets even better. Not content with creating one oriental wall on this building, Kin Dose returned to paint a second one a week or so later…see my next post.
My oh my! A couple of weeks ago this utterly remarkable collaboration by Smak and Sled One appeared on the hoardings in Nelson Street which have in recent times been a bit of an ASK playground. It is quite one of the best collaborations I have seen for a long while, and I don’t think that Bristolians, in the main, realise just how privileged we are to have art this good decorating our streets.
On the left of the wall is a magnifcent oriental style leopard in rampant attitude rather menacingly advancing towards a poor unsuspecting child.
This is one of the finest character pieces I have seen by Smak, and it seems that he is planing on doing more, which is great news.
The whole collaboration is set on a grey background and shares a general colour palette of greys, reds and yellows.
To the right of the wall we are spoiled by a magnificent story from Sled One, where a crane is delivering a little baby suspended in a cloth from its beak. It looks like the baby is prepared to take on the leopard as it is armed with a samurai sword and is wearing a mask. Even the red decorations on the grey patches of the piece ooze class.
This is not the first time that Sled One has incorporated a samurai into his work and is would appear to be a theme he enjoys. This is a world-class collaboration that we in Bristol are lucky to have and I thoroughly recommend that anyone living in Bristol makes a detour to Nelson Street to see it if planning a shopping trip to the centre.
Blink and you might miss it! Sited right next to one of the best collaborations in this part of Bristol that I can remember, between Smak and Sled One (to follow very soon), is this beautiful cat stencil by the utterly awesome Kin Dose.
Continuing on from his Upfest utility box theme, Kin Dose has blessed those right in the centre of Bristol with this little gift. Looking rather innocuous and disguised as a bit of tagging many citizens will have walked by without noticing this charming piece. Suggestion… get yourself down there and take a look.